Toyota launches new auto safety initiative -

Toyota launches new auto safety initiative

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Toyota says it's investing an initial $50 million on a new facility aimed at reducing the number of traffic injuries and deaths in the U.S.

The Collaborative Safety Research Center will be based at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It will research and develop ways to enhance safety involving the vehicle, driver and traffic environment.

Center director Chuck Gulash says the center will work with leading universities, hospitals, research institutions and federal agencies. Charter partners are the University of Michigan, Virginia Tech and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Gulash says the initiative, expected to start within a month, is part of the commitment that Toyota President Akio (ah-kee-oh) Toyoda made last year to Congress and the American people to take a leadership role in developing advanced safety technology.

The pledge came amid a series of massive recalls last year for a wide range of problems, including sudden, unwanted acceleration. The government has received about 3,000 complaints about the problem and says it could be involved in the deaths of 93 people over the last decade.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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